As I was driving out to help Ty feed the cows today, I heard something on the radio that really resonated with me and my life as of late. The DJ spoke about the recent passing of her father-in-law and the impact his death has had on her mother-in-law. This woman has become much more reflective and introspective about her life and what she has accomplished. She says that while she has done many things and accomplished many goals in her life, she feels like she hasn’t really lived. She’s completed an unknown number of to-do lists but she doesn’t feel that she’s fulfilled much of a purpose in her 80-plus years of living. “There is a difference between swimming and just treading water.” How very true that is.
This radio discussion got me thinking. Am I just treading water? Am I really living? Is my only accomplishment finishing a to-do list? Whew. Pretty tough questions. Especially for me, a habitual list-maker.
I can honestly say that during December and most of January I was just treading water. The incredible changes that come with having a baby would probably have been enough to slow me down, but we had a bit more to deal with than just that. Henley’s heart problem added an overwhelming amount of strain and pressure on me, Mr. Rancher, and our families. Learning how to care for her and finding the balance between enough awareness and worry about her health has been a process, that I’m still not perfect at yet. But things have slowed down. Henley is doing very, very well. We don’t see the doctor every week anymore. I’m healed from my c-section. Life is normal again.
So shouldn’t I be swimming again? Metaphorically, of course! As a compulsive planner, I like to have goals for myself. I know I am much more effective when I have a plan and try live on purpose. Rather than just waking up and seeing where my day takes me, I like to make my day work for me. I like to live with intention. I must admit though, I haven’t been doing a very good job of this lately. I’ve been sitting back and letting my life happen to me rather than living it for myself. And I wonder why I sometimes feel so overwhelmed with everything I have to do?!
It comes down to this, we all need to live intentionally. Live on purpose. Actively pursue our goals. Life is not passive and it will pass you by if you let it. I’m certainly not saying that we have to be going and doing every second of the day. It’s just as important to take time for reflection, to spend time with our own thoughts, to watch the clouds, to notice the brilliant colors of nature. However, introspection and meditation is vastly different from spending four hours watching television, Facebooking, pinning Pinterest pins, or playing video games. Maybe I’m unique in this, but when I don’t set goals for myself, when I don’t live with intention, I usually wind up spending way too much time watching TV or on the computer. Other things that are important to me get neglected and I get to the end of my day not knowing how I accomplished so little and still feel so tired!
Life should be about more than just making to-do lists. At the same time, to-do lists can be very effective tools for accomplishing tasks. I suppose the key is to know what you want out of life and determine whether your goals, daily activities, and to-do lists are helping you to get there. For example, the very most important thing to me is my family. More specifically, Henley. If I say that raising Henley to be an intelligent, happy, honest, faithful, kind, productive human being, but let things like doing the dishes or folding laundry or watching TV over-take my time to spend with her, I am not accomplishing my goal. A list of things to get done should never take precedence over a person to be loved.
Please don’t think I’m condemning housework, Facebook, TV, or even nap-time for adults. I like all of these things! What I am condemning is passive living. Sit down and watch your favorite TV show, it’s an excellent way to decompress and relax. Just be sure you get back up from the couch and continue on with your day!
There are definitely times in life when all we can do is tread water. Times when it’s all we can do to get up out of bed and face the day ahead of us. These days, weeks, months happen and it’s okay.
All the other time in our life should be spent in living to our fullest potential. I’m recommitting myself to finding the joy, beauty, and fun in my life. I don’t want to look back and say “well, I guess I made it through my life.” I want to look back and see a legacy of hard-work, happiness, accomplishments, relationships, fun, and growth.
Have a wonderful weekend, readers! Thanks for letting me be part of your day.